First Breath at Factory International

Part of our Exhibitions guide

Maja Lorkowska, Exhibitions Editor
First Breath at Factory International
Factory International

First Breath, 1–29 January 2023, free entry - Visit now

Please note: You can find the entrance to First Breath at Water Street, at the bottom of Liverpool Road.

Manchester is starting 2023 on a hopeful note with First Breath, a celebration of new life and fresh beginnings in the city. The Factory International project created by world-renowned artist Luke Jerram will make those long winter evenings a lot brighter.

Every day from 1 to 29 January between 4-10pm, the evening sky will light up with vertical beams of light representing the number of babies born that day across Manchester and visualising the moment that a child takes their first gasp of air. The beams will be visible from near and far – you can get up close to the artwork but you’ll also be able to see it from various points across the city centre.

Located at the construction site of the brand new cultural centre of Factory International, First Breath is a dazzling start to a programme of events for the whole family. We all recognise the need for art and culture as an essential part of our lives and Factory International is planning on playing a major part in the lives of local families. You can expect various family activities and early learning opportunities to encourage a cultural awareness for the new generation, quite literally, from birth.

You may have already heard of the man behind First Breath – Luke Jerram’s Museum of the Moon has been seen by over 20 million people as it travelled across the world to bring audiences a little closer to the celestial wonder. His Gaia – Floating Earth installation has similarly been appreciated by audiences across the country, including in Salford’s Media City and in Pennington Flash near Wigan in 2021. The artist’s penchant for magnificent, large-scale installations always makes for memorable art experiences. You can watch an interview with Jerram here:

The opening of Factory International is one of the most significant events in Manchester’s cultural calendar this year and for good reason too. Operated by the team behind our beloved Manchester International Festival, Factory international will be the ultimate destination for arts, music and culture. The brand new public space will be brought to life with an exciting programme of events from June 2023. The team will work with some of the most celebrated artists and the cultural schedule will start with Yayoi Kusama’s You, Me and the Balloons, while in autumn we can look forward to the Matrix-inspired Free Your Mind, created by legendary director Danny Boyle. Keep an eye on the website for updates.

Look out for the beams of First Breath in the new year, and lets its hopeful message warm your January nights.

First Breath

1–29 January 2023
Free entry

Dates and Times

  • 1 January 2023 5:00 pm
  • 2 January 2023 5:00 pm
  • 3 January 2023 5:00 pm
  • 4 January 2023 5:00 pm
  • 5 January 2023 5:00 pm
  • 6 January 2023 5:00 pm
  • 7 January 2023 5:00 pm
  • 8 January 2023 5:00 pm
  • 10 January 2023 5:00 pm
  • 11 January 2023 5:00 pm
  • 12 January 2023 5:00 pm
  • 13 January 2023 5:00 pm
  • 14 January 2023 5:00 pm
  • 15 January 2023 5:00 pm
  • 17 January 2023 5:00 pm
  • 18 January 2023 5:00 pm
  • 19 January 2023 5:00 pm
  • 20 January 2023 5:00 pm
  • 21 January 2023 5:00 pm
  • 22 January 2023 5:00 pm
  • 24 January 2023 5:00 pm
  • 25 January 2023 5:00 pm
  • 26 January 2023 5:00 pm
  • 27 January 2023 5:00 pm
  • 28 January 2023 5:00 pm
  • 29 January 2023 5:00 pm
  • Always double check dates and times with the venue before making a special visit